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Topic: Do you think we will ever get the ability to sell digital games to another person?

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NEStalgia

@Cotillion Ironically the industry gives you the answer as they try to lock you out of your own property. They did not sell you the content of the disc when they sold you a disc, they sold you the disc, as you said. You could trade that disc. What they officially gave you was a license to access content, and local storage of said content, in the case of the DVD on a lacquer disc. If you give me that disc, you are giving me your license's physical lock (the disc), and the permanent storage of the content. You could have copied the data on that disc before giving it to me, but by giving me the disc you gave me the legal license to access it.

Now when we talk about digital...what is different, at all, about digital? Not how they present it but how it actually works in relation to property rights? If you buy a digital game you bought a license to access that content. Instead of a physical disc, it comes with credentials for a master authentication server (that part alone should be up for debate....perhaps instead of each company maintaining their own credentials a more open credentialing system should be publically available, etc.) - but in either case, whether you download the content, or I donwload the content - the license to access it was purchased and owned by you. Currently they simply don't offer you any way at all to transfer that license to me. The only difference in this case would be the rights to transfer a license to whomever you wish, the terms of the transaction to be defined by you. You give it to me, you sell it to me, you barter for it in bottle caps, doesn't matter, when you decide to transfer the license to me, there should be nothing preventing you from doing so.

Similarly with how motor vehicles are transferred. They are registered to an individual. The registration is then transferred to the new owner with the appropriate paperwork (and fee, because government.) They don't care how much you sold it for or whether it's a gift from a game of checkers, you're just transferring whom is registered to use it.

The transfer wouldn't even need to delete your copy. But you would then become unauthorized to access it. Same as with a DVD, if you copy the contents before selling it it's illegal (albeit unenforceable) for you to access that content (this is where the industry wants to eat their cake and have it to as currently they'd treat possession of the copy as a violation...but that's getting into the details too much, and ignores the online DRM aspect of software and licensing servers.)

"Used" applies depreciation from prior use, though arguably a BluRay disc has no real depreciation either. The content is simply less in demand than it was. But again this is why it needs to be a legislative level discussion. Does the value of property no longer work by the same rules in the digital age? If not, our economy and legal framework is still entirely based in the old rules, and needs a complete overhaul if those rules no longer apply. This remains the industry itself trying to manage and control the usage of the products they sell. And if they only issue licenses as non-transferrable, can they even legally sell those licenses as property as they currently do? And would consumers pay the current asking prices for it if they understood that?

Ironically XBox/Windows Store purchaes have a "download now" button on many games for Game Pass subscribers, or free Games with Gold games, but then have a "Buy to Own" button next to it. Buy to own....they're directly stating ownership.....curious....

"Used" no longer constitutes diminishing value due to wear as it does for material goods. But then we get back to the same problem. Our entire system is designed around the buying and selling of property. From the founding of the US to present, that was established (Different in the UK and Europe where, at the same time, most countries were feudalism still and peasants effectively had no property and no rights. The UK was experimenting with such ideas (the experiments that spawned the US ideas to begin with.) Since then of course most of EU/Europe adopted the US/UK conceptualized systems.) But if the rights to buy and sell property only apply if the property devalues through use and time, and are centrally managed as to what property you may buy and sell based on it's value....do you actually have any property rights at all? That's why it must be debate at the legal level....the implications are deeper that selling video games. The implications affect the underpinnings of the basis of law and economics in western society and the US especially. Either a ruling would have to treat digital property the same as all other property, or effectively the entire system by which modern society has operated needs to be halted and rewritten from scratch to accomodate the changes.

But going back to your original thoughts, what you definitely do own is the license, if nothing else. Be it on disc, or download, what you buy is a license. And there should be no reason to prevent you from buying, selling, trading, or destroying your license like any other possession, beyond a backward system of serving business above the citizenry. Currently it simply lets companies determine when all licenses are destroyed and access halted. Imagine if you were to buy a coffee maker, and one day Samsung declares that all their coffee makers will stop working today, you should go buy a new one, albeit one that's a combi-cooker because that's what they make now. Actually you can get a coffee maker for less money than a video game..... so that's not even as bad as this.

There's always the argument that if people are reselling who would buy new? But on the other hand, music has been doing this longer than any other digital industry. Even with easy piracy of drm-free downloads, iTunes isn't exactly hurting in sales. Streaming subscriptions keep growing, and buying used physical to rip is still the cheaper way to do it. If they have to hamstring sales by restrictions and access control, they're offering too little value, too little convenience, or both, to begin with. Even with used sales, notice the PSN store and such will discount their own first party games almost half price within the first few months on sales? Selling used, I couldn't compete with that....I'd still be losing money if I bought new, I'd be better off holding onto my license. Interesting how proper pricing fixes the whole used equation? Restricting resale is a method of price fixing and maintaining an obsolete business model, ironically enough, by denying customers their half of the "obsolete" model .

Of course that debate does have to happen, but, there's the other problem, as games ever more become continuous services, the license is worthless without paying for ongoing subscriptions to services. Apparently even digital, revocable rights is just too generous.

That's the fun of the industry though, they want it both ways. When they sell you a disc, they tell you you didn't really buy what's on the disc, you just bought a license to access it. But when you buy digital they tell you you didn't buy anything transferrable because there's no disc. They conveniently forget that they've been telling you for 20 years you're buying licenses.....therefore...you're still buying licenses because that's the same thing you were buying before, as well. Which means you can still sell your licenses. And it's even more secure for them now because they are their own license server, so they knw you're not copying it. (ALL digital content except music is authenticated against a license server. On your Primary Switch it authenticates on initial download but not on execution. On any other Switch it authenticates every time you access it.) Same for PS/XB/Steam/Vudu/Google Movies & TV, etc.

Edit: Conversely we can flip the argument around as well. If they have sold you ownership of nothing to dole as property.....then what exactly did you exchange money for? Can they legally charge at all? Even to go to an event/venue, you purchase a ticket - access to the venue - as property, and you may transfer it. Digital media is the only industry where you can exchange money for absolutely nothing in return except the good faith of the seller to provide you viewership of their product at their discretion, revocable at any time. If the new rules are that if you didn't create it, you don't own it....then can any contract with the studio's employees be valid that the company owns the artwork/code? Or does that under the new rules really belong to the artists, actors etc that actually produced it? Does any company have ownership over the product of it's employees? Or is it a new system of laws that mostly says "all property belongs to corporations unless otherwise stated?" And if so, is that not a feudalism, replacing a lord with a corporation?

And this is why the politicians won't touch the hot potato If you draw attention to these facets it shows what the real thinking of the digital age is.... a return to serfdom.

Edited on by NEStalgia

NEStalgia

GameOtaku

@NEStalgia
I'm impressed, I agree 100%. A tip of the hat to you good sir (or ma'am as the case could be).

GameOtaku

Cotillion

@NEStalgia The biggest difference I find between comparisons to real world property and digital media, is the supply and creation of a new product upon transfer.
Discs, theater/concert tickets, cars, everything has a finite supply. The company can only sell so many, but with digital they can sell indefinitely. Things like tickets, it benefits the venue to have them being transferable. If the original purchaser can't attend, it's better to have someone else in that seat who will be buying food, drinks, and whatever else depending on the the event. They directly benefit from a transferable license.
If I sell you a DVD, you get that license on a disc that has a finite supply. It could also have scratches, been run at high RPM in a player, and so on with normal wear and tear.
If I sell you my digital license, you are then getting a brand new product since digital cannot be "used". I can't think of any real world situation that's comparable to that, where you sell someone something that you actually used and they are actually getting a brand new unused version of it. It's like buying brand new games, leaving them sealed and then reselling them cheaper. Except you wouldn't do this because it makes no sense.
Reselling digital licenses isn't worth it, as you say, because the providers themselves severely mark them down within a year in many cases (Nintendo being the exception). The secondary market has no value in this case. Why do I buy from you for half off VS buying direct from the store for half off where I'm directly supporting the developer?
I'm not sure this would be as much an issue with a lot of people if the license wasn't restricting to specific devices. If I'm paying for Spotify or Netflix, I can get those apps on pretty well every device I own (except Switch lol) and any new device I get. PC games transfer forward to any new PC I get. Hell, even TV subscriptions do this now. I can login to my providers app and watch live TV anywhere. This still isn't actually owning it, but the illusion of at least having a bit of control over what you paid for and being able to use it how you want.
Most console games are stuck in this weird place where they sell you a license that isn't transferable to anyone or anything at any time, not even their own other devices (with a few exceptions). It's the only digital marketplace, that I'm aware of, that is this restrictive.
Music used to be and that didn't go well and now we're at where we're at with music.

I think this will be a factor in streaming games that people don't realize. I don't think Stadia is going to be the console killer Google hopes it will be, but it offers that same illusion of control. Buy Doom on PS4 and you gotta play it on your PS4 and that's it. Buy Doom on Stadia and you can play it on whatever device you want.
Can they legally charge you for nothing? Well....they aren't charging you for nothing. You're paying for access to the game which I imagine could be interpreted as a one time rental fee.

Trying to alter the laws and rules of existing physical ownership is fruitless, I think. I think, unfortunately, it'd have to be done from scratch as it is a different beast. Perhaps altering the terms of agreements. Things like if said provider chooses to not supply the digital product anymore or the license to distribute is lost, the product that has been purchased already is unlocked to allow back ups of it (that could still require an account tie-in to verify it's not being copied/distributed), so that they may continue to use it and access it if they lose their copy. And the distributor is required to give x amount of notice beforehand. Just as an off-hand example.
There's a whole host of issues with digital that just aren't covered by current property laws and should be addressed.
Sadly, we seem to have laws made decades ago that don't get updated as advances like this are made.

Cotillion

GameOtaku

@Cotillion
Bandai can't get money from a game it made twenty years ago because it lost the license to certain characters like the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Fighting Edition on SNES I picked up recently. Of course it's a physical cartridge, but let's say for arguments sake the Power Rangers Battle for the Grid was digital only. You don't buy the game now but say in 20 years there's a retro revival of the switch. You hear about this game and want to own the game for yourself. With it being digital only though you can't since although the switchron plays physical carts access to the eshop will more than likely be closed. So what can you do? You could always emulate the game I guess but then tge devs wouldn't get any money.

The whole sticking point to your arguments is that you are buying new even if you buy it secondhand from someone else. If it is second hand it is used (of course there are conditions we give things, sealed, good, poor but it's still considered used. It may be as new or like new but it will never truly be new)

Edited on by GameOtaku

GameOtaku

Cotillion

@GameOtaku I'm not arguing for it to be the way it is or against what you want, so please stop acting like I'm taking a side against it. Digital property doesn't fit well within existing physical property laws and I'm just pointing out the problems with it and why it isn't the way you think it should be now without an overhaul to those laws and the definitions of 'property' and 'used'.
A second hand digital game simply does not exist. By your own definition it doesn't exist, that if it is 'used' it is second hand. You don't give someone a digital game, you give them your license to download a new copy. Even if you transfer directly from your system to mine, it is still a brand new perfect copy and not the same copy you used. The terms of conditions never applies for value as the recipient always receives a brand new copy. It doesn't matter that you played it, the sent copy of that code had never been played. That's how digital transfer works, you don't transfer the used portion of your harddrive, you make a new copy of it on someone elses.
There's a host of problems preventing it from being the way you think it should be and unless someone makes a big enough deal about it to start having this stuff redefined, it will just never happen.

Cotillion

GameOtaku

@Cotillion
First off we are having a discussion. Discussions can have opposing viewpoints. No need to get bent out of shape simply because I don't agree with your points (I admit I may be better off to shut up sometimes bit I do want my point to be heard).

Digital simply doesn't exist. It can't be "new". It only exists when trapped in a physical medium. It's on a server somewhere right? That is composed of physical parts, hard drives, disc drives, ICs, a physical she'll etc. Even with old nes and snes games the data, the game and save files, only exist within the cart. The cart ages and wears, tears. But without it you would have nothing. I would even go so far to say my vc games are different from yours because of the data contained therein. My save state, score and other conditions existing within that frozen state are all entirely mine and would be different from yours.

GameOtaku

Cotillion

@GameOtaku I'm not bent out of shape. These also aren't my points. These are the facts as to how and why things are the way they are, whether you agree with them or not. I don't agree with the way digital is handled on consoles, but that doesn't make it any less the way it is.
Digital does exist. You pay for a license to access and use code on a machine. The code and assets compiled to make the game are what exists and it belongs to the creator. This is why they specify it as buying a license and not the game code. If they sell you the game code, you are free to whatever you want with it. Its akin to saying art doesn't exist. Artwork is just colours arranged a specific way, without the canvas, paper or whatever medium it's displayed on it doesn't exist. So, if I buy an Avengers DVD, do I suddenly have the rights to the logos and artwork on it because it's on a medium I bought? This is what it's comparable to. I can sell the medium, but not the artwork. Digital exists without the medium. We never had the rights to the content to begin with. Nothings changed, except they took away the medium.
The difference caused by high scores, saves and whatnot is irrelevant as the game code is exactly the same and even then, when you transfer it you are still transferring brand new and unused copies of that save data. Not to mention that data and save system is still part of the game code, a frozen state or not, and is still owned by the creator.
Reselling games is a means for cheaper access to them for some people. Either the person buying it and recouping the cost by reselling or the person buying by paying less. I'd almost bet this will be answered by the industry the same way video has - digital rentals. You pay them significantly less for timed access. You keep the save files for if you rent or buy it again later.

Currently, your only way around it is to stick to physical. Physical purchases come with slightly more rights as you are entitled to sell the medium the content has come on, but still do not have the rights to the content.
The illusion of ownership and control is more prominent on PC, so I tend to lean that way when given the choice between buying a game on console or PC. I can buy an entirely new PC tomorrow and access all my purchases simply by logging in to Steam. I can login on a different PC and access them. Purchases I made years ago. I simply can't do this on console, everything I bought on Wii, Wii U and 3DS are stuck on those respective systems, when Steam has conditioned me to thinking I should at the very least be able to transfer those purchases forward to Switch if they are able to run.
Much of the gaming population may be conditioned to the way it is, though. Console gamers have always expected that a new console means new architecture and backward compatibility was merely an option that may or may not happen. PC games, even when physical, wasn't usually hindered by this (only after a much longer period of time would a game stop working, and even then there are workarounds in many cases to get them to run). So, the expectations of this has been different between the two. PC gamers expect games to run on their next system because that's how its always been, while console gamers have been conditioned to expect them to not. PC gaming just couldnt get away with what console gaming does. If a new PC meant having to rebuy the library or keep the old PC around, the outcry would be unbelievable, but it's common practice on consoles.
I don't have an Xbox or PS, but I hear they handle this better than Nintendo does (need confirmation).

Edited on by Cotillion

Cotillion

Link-Hero

@Cotillion
You should probably give up discussing with him on this as he seems too stubborn and selfish to understand.

Link-Hero

Nintendo Network ID: LinkHero25

GameOtaku

@Link-Hero
Aren't y'all the same way?

If digital truly has no age then time stamps have no relevance either. A picture taken today is the same age as a photo taken 5 years ago in that case even though the time stamp says otherwise. Digital can only exist in physical mediums and they age. Heck with the way you two talk a game from 20 years ago is still new as a game created today. By y'alls own assertion some data can't be ran using today's computers so that would imply age. Age! If it can age then it should be considered new or used!

Edited on by GameOtaku

GameOtaku

Slitth

No
This is good because more of the money you use goes to the ones that develop the game.
Where if you buy used copy you are give money to the previous owner.

Besides all the fraud that could be made with selling your license is not worth the time

Slitth

GameOtaku

@Slitth
But what if the game is no longer available? If they aren't currently selling it and not making any attempt to do so your only option is to buy from someone who has it.

GameOtaku

BruceCM

GameOtaku wrote:

If it can age then it should be considered new or used!

Afraid not.... I can still buy a 'new' Switch physical game from last year. That may have been sitting on the shelf or elsewhere for months. But it's not used.
While when you move files, even on your own phone or whatever, how it actually works is copying it to the new location & deleting the original. So, however you transferred your digital game to another person, they don't actually get the 'used' version
In the same way you can't play Wii & Wii U games on Switch, unless it's ports, etc, you might not be able to play Switch games on future consoles. Is that clearer?
"By y'alls own assertion some data can't be ran using today's computers so that would imply age."
It

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Slitth

GameOtaku wrote:

@Slitth
But what if the game is no longer available? If they aren't currently selling it and not making any attempt to do so your only option is to buy from someone who has it.

Then the game is no longer available to sell on the service that handles the User Licence.
Because that what you are really selling. An User Licence.

As the User Licence is bound you your account, you would need a way to unbind the Licence.
While that would be possible it open up a lot of problems.
What if you account was hack and the unbind all your the games?
Can you get them bound to account again?
What if the Licence key is not bound to another account?

No, that would make account hacking much more profitable and therefore more enticing.
Any digital store would be wise not to open up this can of worms.

And there is also the possibility that reselling of User License may cost the developer so much money that they close. And then you cannot get "new" copy of the game any more.

Besides most digital stores have discounts on older games that would be cheaper that a "used" game.

Slitth

Mountain_Man

Link-Hero wrote:

Mountain_Man wrote:

They think that because it does. Do you know what a store like Gamestop does with the money from used game sales? They use it to support their business which includes purchasing new games from publishers to keep their stores stocked. It's a win for everybody.

Here's the thing, I want the money to go to the company that made the product, not the ones who are selling it. It's one of the big reasons why I'm such a supporter of digital downloads since I know that most of that money is going directly to the developers and publishers.

Don't kid yourself. Digital shops are taking a cut of the purchase, then publishers take their cut, and then developers get their cut, depending on their agreement with the publisher — in some cases, developers are given a certain amount up-front with additional payments tied to milestones, such as "Earn a minimum score of 8.5 on Metacritic" or "Sell X number of copies in the first week". If you think buying digitally means the developer gets more money then you're just fooling yourself.

When it comes to physical purchases, once the game box lands on a store shelf, the publisher has already been paid by the store. That's how it works: the shop buys from the publishers and then tries to turn a profit by selling to the public. That's one of the reasons stores like GameStop push pre-sales, because they don't want to eat the loss on unsold product.

Edited on by Mountain_Man

The Mountain Man

Slitth

@Mountain_Man
Do you think that the store buy it at the same price?
No they get a cut to, same as a digital store.
Sure the physical store might have to pay the publishers and developers cut before the sale.
But there is always a split between the store, publisher and developer.

On pre-owned the games is often sold to the store first and then to the new owner.
Now where in this chain does the publishers and developers get a cut?

So buying unused games supports the ones the create and deliver the games to you.
Pre-owned do not.

Slitth

Mountain_Man

Slitth wrote:

@Mountain_Man
Do you think that the store buy it at the same price?

Of course not, but the markup is only a few percent. Stores like GameStop usually have razor thin profit margins on new sales. Used sales is where they make the real money because the markup is much larger.

And, yes, buying used from GameStop does support the industry, as I said, because they use part of the revenue from used sales to buy new product which directly benefits the publisher and developer.

The Mountain Man

kkslider5552000

Slitth wrote:

So buying unused games supports the executives who run the companies who publish games.
Pre-owned do not.

amended for accuracy

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CurryPowderKeg79

Mountain_Man wrote:

Slitth wrote:

@Mountain_Man
Do you think that the store buy it at the same price?

Of course not, but the markup is only a few percent. Stores like GameStop usually have razor thin profit margins on new sales. Used sales is where they make the real money because the markup is much larger.

And, yes, buying used from GameStop does support the industry, as I said, because they use part of the revenue from used sales to buy new product which directly benefits the publisher and developer.

Gamestop has huge margins on used games they will pay you $17 or $18 for a game then sell it for $55 a 300% markup. I never sell games to brick and mortar stores anymore(Rip Off). I sell them on Ebay for 2 time what they would pay me. Which is a deal for me and the buyer. As i get double the money and the buyer gets it for $36 instead of $55.

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Mountain_Man

It depends on the game. Newer, popular, and rare games will naturally fetch a higher price, but I've always found GameStop to be fair, and it beats the hassle of eBay.

The Mountain Man

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